Sat. Jan 28th, 2023
iOS 16 release candidate is out now, iCloud Shared Photo Library is delayed

Every June, Apple announces and demonstrates the next version of iOS for your iPhone, but the update itself won’t actually launch until the fall (usually around September). This year at WWDC, Apple announced iOS 16, which is full of exciting new features like a customizable lock screen.

But what if you don’t want to wait that long to try out the new features? You need to install the beta!

In this article, we walk you through the steps required to get the iOS 16 beta. We explain how to join Apple’s beta programs, and how to install and run an iOS beta on your iPhone. For more information about getting onto Apple’s beta program read: How to join Apple’s beta program and try out new software.

If you want to install the full public version of iOS 16 on your iPhone (not the beta version) we explain how to get iOS 16 on your iPhone in a separate article. But as mentioned previously, you’ll need to wait until the fall (probably September).

Updated 09/07/22: The release candidate of iOS 16 has been released to developers. It should be released to Public beta testers soon.

What’s new in the latest beta release?

The latest iOS 16 beta release is what they call the “release candidate,” essentially the same exact build that will go out to the general public on September 12, unless a serious bug is found that needs to be fixed quickly.

There is one significant change, however: it appears that iCloud Photo Library has been removed from the initial iOS 16 release, and will come in a later software update.

iOS 16 Release notes

These are Apple’s full official release notes for iOS 16.0:

Lock Screen

Redesigned Lock Screen gives you all new ways to personalize your Lock Screen by showcasing favorite photos, customizing font styles, displaying widgets, and more

Multiple Lock Screens can be created and you can easily switch between them

Lock Screen gallery offers personalized suggestions along with Apple curated collections for your Lock Screen

Font and color options for customizing the look of the date and time on your Lock Screen

Widgets on the Lock Screen display information at a glance like the weather, battery levels, upcoming calendar events, and more

A new effect places the subject of the photo in front of the time (iPhone XS and later)

Photo styles change the color filter, tinting, and font style of photos on the Lock Screen to complement each other

Notifications appear at the bottom of your Lock Screen and can be displayed in an expanded list view, stacked view, or count view

Focus

Lock Screen linking connects your Lock Screen to a Focus, so you can activate a Focus by switching to the corresponding Lock Screen

Focus filters hide distracting content in apps like Calendar, Mail, Messages, Safari and third party apps

Streamlined setup makes it easier and faster to get started with Focus, with personalized Lock Screen and Home Screen suggestions that include apps and widgets that are relevant to the Focus you’re setting up

Messages

Edit a message for up to 15 minutes after sending it and recipients see a record of edits

Undo send allows you to recall any message for up to 2 minutes after sending it

Mark as unread makes it easy to come back to a conversation later

SharePlay in Messages lets you enjoy activities like watching movies, listening to music, playing games, and more with friends while messaging

Collaboration provides a simple way to invite others to collaborate on a file via Messages and get activity updates in the thread when someone makes an edit to a shared project

Mail

Improved search delivers more accurate, complete results and provide suggestions as soon as you begin to type

Undo send allows you to cancel delivery of a message within 10 seconds of hitting send

Scheduled send for sending an email at a specific day and time

Follow‑up surfaces sent emails that have not been replied to, to the top of your inbox so you can quickly follow‑up

Remind me lets you schedule a date and time to be reminded about an email

Safari and Passkeys

Shared Tab Groups let you share a set of tabs with others and see the Tab Group update instantly as you work together

Tab Group start pages can be customized with different background images and favorites for each Tab Group

Pinned tabs in Tab Groups enable you to pin frequently visited websites for each Tab Group

Safari web page translation adds translation for web pages in Turkish, Thai, Vietnamese, Polish, Indonesian, and Dutch

Passkeys offer support for an easier and safer sign‑in method to replace passwords

Passkey syncing through iCloud Keychain makes your passkeys available across all your Apple devices while keeping them end-to-end encrypted

Live Text

Live Text video support allows you to interact with text in a paused video frame so you can copy, translate, lookup, share, and more (iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR and later)

Quick actions let you take action on data detected in photos and videos with a single tap, so you can track flights or shipments, translate foreign languages, convert currencies, and more (iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR and later)

Visual Look Up

Lift subject from background isolates the subject of an image so you can copy and paste it into apps like Mail and Messages (iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR and later)

Visual Look Up adds recognition of birds, insects, spiders, and statues in your photos (iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR and later)

Siri

Easy Shortcuts setup makes it possible to run shortcuts with Siri as soon as you download an app with no upfront setup (iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR and later)

A new setting allows you to send messages without Siri asking you to confirm before sending

“Hey Siri, what can I do here?” helps you discover Siri capabilities in iOS and apps just by asking (iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR and later)

Call hang up option for ending Phone and FaceTime calls with Siri by saying “Hey Siri, hang up.” (iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR and later)

Dictation

All-new Dictation experience supports using your voice and keyboard together to enter and edit text (iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR and later)

Automatic punctuation inserts commas, periods, and question marks as you dictate

Emoji support lets you insert emoji using your voice (iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR and later)

Maps

Multi-stop routing supports adding up to fifteen stops along your driving route in Maps

Transit cards in Maps let you see low balances and replenish your card when you add transit cards to Wallet, all without leaving Maps

Transit fares show you how much your journey will cost in the San Francisco Bay Area, London, New York, and San Diego

Apple Pay and Wallet

Apple Pay Order Tracking allows you to receive detailed receipt and order tracking information in Wallet for Apple Pay purchases with participating merchants

ID cards in Wallet lets you share verified information with apps that require identity verification (iPhone 8 and later)

Apple Account supports topping-up your account balance from your Apple Account card in Wallet

Home

Redesigned Home app makes it easier to navigate, organize, view, and control your smart home accessories

Home tab now integrates all your accessories, rooms, and scenes into a single tab for a whole-house view, allowing you to see your entire home at a glance

Categories for lights, climate, security, speakers and TVs, and water let you quickly access all the relevant accessories organized by room, and displays more detailed status information

New camera view displays up to four cameras front and center in the Home tab, scroll to see any additional camera views in your home

Redesigned accessory tiles feature more visually recognizable icons that are color-matched to their category, and new behaviors for more precise accessory controls

Health

Medications feature helps you track and manage your medications, vitamins and supplements by creating a list, custom schedules and reminders, and then viewing logging over time

Add medications using your iPhone camera (iPhone XS, iPhone XR and later)

Interaction alerts inform you if there is a critical interaction when you add a new medication

Cycle deviation notifications alert you if your logged menstrual cycles show a pattern of infrequent periods, irregular periods, prolonged periods, or persistent spotting

Invitations for Health Sharing allow loved ones to easily and securely share their health data with you

Health Sharing reminders give you transparency and control over the health data you are sharing with loved ones

News

My Sports enables you to easily follow your favorite teams and leagues and watch highlights right in the News app

Favorites give you easy access to the channels and topics you read the most, in a consistent place near the top of your Today feed

New homepages deliver visually updated and easier to navigate topic feeds for local news locales, sports teams and leagues, and more

Family Sharing

Improved child account setup makes it easier to create an account for a child with the right parental controls, including age‑appropriate media restrictions

Device setup for a child lets you use Quick Start to easily set up a new iOS or iPadOS device for your child with your selected parental controls in place

Screen Time requests in Messages make it even easier to approve or decline requests from your child

Family Checklist gives you tips and suggestions like updating a child’s parental control settings, turning on location sharing, or just reminding you to share your iCloud+ subscription with everyone

Safety Check

Safety Check is a new section in Settings to help people in domestic or intimate partner violence situations quickly reset the access they’ve granted to others

Emergency reset lets you quickly take action to reset access across all people and apps, including disabling location sharing via Find My, resetting privacy permissions for apps, and more

Manage sharing and access helps you review and customize which apps and people can access your information

Accessibility

Door detection in Magnifier locates a door, reads signs and symbols around it, and gives you instructions for how to open the door (iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro)

Apple Watch mirroring provides full control of Apple Watch from iPhone and supports use of Switch Control, Voice Control, or any other assistive features on iPhone to get the most out of your Apple Watch

Live Captions (beta) automatically converts audio into text for users who are Deaf or hard of hearing to follow along more easily with calls and media content (iPhone 11 and later)

Buddy controller helps users with cognitive disabilities get support from a caregiver or friend while playing a game, by combining inputs from multiple game controllers into one

VoiceOver is now available in over 20 new languages and locales, including Bangla (India), Bulgarian, Catalan, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese

Voice Control spelling mode gives you the option to dictate names, addresses, or other custom spellings letter by letter

This release also includes other features and improvements:

Fitness app lets you track and meet your fitness goals even if you don’t yet have an Apple Watch, using iPhone motion sensors to give you an estimate of your calories to contribute to your daily Move goal

AirPods Pro (2nd generation) support

Personalized Spatial Audio uses the TrueDepth camera on iPhone to create a personal profile for Spatial Audio that delivers a more precise and immersive listening experience on AirPods (3rd generation), AirPods Pro (1st and 2nd generation), AirPods Max

Handoff in FaceTime allows you to move FaceTime calls seamlessly from your iPhone to your iPad or Mac, and vice versa

Memoji updates include more sticker poses, hairstyles, headwear, noses, and lip colors

Quick Note adds support for taking a note in any app on your iPhone and adding links to create context and easily find content

Translate camera lets you translate text around you using the camera in the Translate app

Duplicate detection in Photos identifies duplicate photos so you can quickly clean up your library

Foreground blur for portrait photos in Camera blurs objects in the foreground for a more realistic-looking depth-of-field effect (iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max)

Pinned lists in Reminders helps you quickly navigate to your favorite lists

Search on the Home Screen enables Spotlight to be accessed directly from the bottom of the Home Screen, making it easy to open apps, find contacts, or get information from the web

Automatically send messages in CarPlay to skip the confirmation step when sending messages

Rapid Security Response gets important security improvements to your devices even faster, as they can be applied automatically between standard software updates

Some features may not be available for all regions or on all iPhone models. For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT201222

How to install the iOS 16 Public beta

This is the version of iOS 16 that most of us will be running ahead of launch, since the developer beta is, as the name suggests, for developers only. But the public betas always lag behind the developer ones, and start off significantly later: the first public beta hasn’t been released yet, and isn’t slated to do so until July 2022.

When the public beta of iOS 16 does come out, you’ll be able to install it using the following instructions.

Click Sign Up on the Apple Beta page and register with your Apple ID.
Log in to the Beta Software Program.
Click Enroll your iOS device. (If you signed up for a previous version’s beta last year you may need to uninstall the profile for that and then re-enroll for the new one.)
Go to beta.apple.com/profile on your iOS device.
Download and install the configuration profile.
You may need to jump over to Settings to enable the profile. Go to General > VPN and Device Management and tap on the iOS 16 beta profile there.
That will make the beta version available in the Settings app, under General > Software Update.

How to install the iOS 16 Developer beta

Each stage of iOS 16’s development cycle will be rolled out to developers first, and then to public beta testers afterwards. If you’re a developer and need to test your apps against the most up-to-date version of the OS possible, this is the version to run.

First check that your device is compatible. Have a quick read of Which iPhones can get iOS 16? (It’s the iPhone 8 and later, basically.)

You’ll need to be registered as an Apple developer. Joining the Apple Developer Program costs $99 a year.

All set? Okay! Here’s how to install the iOS 16 developer beta, in eight easy steps:

In Safari on your iPhone, go to developer.apple.com and log in using your Apple ID.
Go to the Downloads section (you’ll find it in the lefthand menu), scroll down to iOS 16 beta and tap Install Profile, then Accept.
Open the Settings app. You should see Profile Downloaded at the top of the main screen—tap this. If you can’t see it, go to General > VPN and Device Management and tap on the iOS 16 beta profile there.
Tap Install in the top-right to install the iOS 16 beta profile.
Read the developer consent form and (assuming you’re happy with the terms) give your consent.
Restart your iPhone.
Now go to Settings > General > Software Update, where you should see the iOS 16 beta is available. Tap Download and Install.
Wait for your iPhone to finish downloading the update, then tap Install when prompted.

And if everything has worked the way it should, your iPhone will now be running the iOS 16 beta.

Can I get the developer beta if I’m not a developer?

If you’re not a developer, but you want to install the developer beta anyway, this is possible. Just be warned that this goes against Apple’s terms and conditions and needless to say will completely rule out any warranty assistance if things go wrong.

You’ll need to find and download a copy of the iOS 16 beta profile on a non-Apple site. Google is your friend here.

Once you’ve downloaded the profile, install the beta using the same method listed above. You can jump to step 3.

What’s a beta?

Betas are pre-release testing versions. Every iOS update goes through the beta phase before it’s officially launched, from small tweaks such as 15.5.1 to the full-version game-changers like iOS 16.

There are developer betas (for registered software developers only), and public betas (for anyone who’s keen). Both types go through multiple versions—probably half a dozen—before a major launch.

Risks and precautions

Note first of all that betas are test versions of upcoming software. They are by definition unfinished, and while they should include most or all of the features in the finished product, there will be cosmetic differences and, inevitably, some glitches and problems that will need to be fixed. The glitches and problems are why Apple bothers to beta-test iOS in the first place.

In other words, don’t expect a perfect user experience. In particular, don’t expect existing apps (including ones that you may rely on) to work perfectly with the new version. In extreme cases you may even find that your device is bricked by the beta, and cannot be used until the next beta comes along and hopefully fixes the problem. It’s not uncommon for early beta software to exhibit problems like excessive battery drain, too.

The closer we get to the final launch of iOS 16, the more polished and feature-complete we can expect the available betas to become. The counter to that, of course, is there will less time left to wait for the official launch, so you won’t be gaining so much by installing a beta.

Assuming you decide to go ahead, we can’t stress enough how important it is to back up your iPhone before you install an iOS beta, or better still, use a secondary device rather than your main iPhone. You won’t lose everything if something goes wrong while the beta is installing, and you’ll be able to go back to the last version should you find that you don’t like the new software after all, or that it’s too buggy.

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